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New Survey: On average, how many interviews do you go to at a recruitment fair?

A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  On average, how many interviews do you go to at a recruitment fair?

Screen Shot 2013-01-20 at 5.19.24 PMIs this the year when the power comes back into the candidate’s favor?  If so, you may be looking at a nice number of secured interviews at the recruitment fair you go to this year!

Around seven to ten years ago it really seemed like a different story; there were many positions available and not enough candidates to fill the positions. With the power more on the candidate’s side, you might feel like you are very much in demand at the fair.

As of late, it seems like the international schools at the fair are very much in control.  They have a number of candidates to choose from, and most likely quality candidates at that.  More quality candidates competing with you to secure interviews might mean less interviews for you to attend.

Putting the topic of who’s has the power aside, if you are a top candidate with a lot of domestic and international school teaching experience, you might still be looking at going to seven-plus interviews at certain fairs.  On the other hand if you are just starting out in teaching and in the international school community, you possibly might be looking at only securing a few.

As experienced international school teacher veterans know, it is not so cut and dry like that.  There are too many factors at which to look.  It all depends too on “luck and timing.”  Anyone who is a quality teacher and a good fit for the school will most likely get short-listed disregarding your lack of experience.LucovichJobFairInterview-Cropped

Some teachers, however, go to the fair with a plan.  That plan is to seek out only a small handful of schools.  If they are unsuccessful at securing an interview at those schools, then that is it for them.  It is a bit stressful to attend a fair and have your hopes dashed as you find the two schools that you were most interested in is not interested in you “at this time”, the vacancy has gone away or it has already been filled. Unfortunately, in this circumstance, you potentially will end up not going to any interviews.

Other teachers are very open to where they would like to go.  For those teachers, they might indeed end up securing more interviews.  Typically, they do say that you should be open-minded to attend an interview even if the school is not the one you are necessarily looking at or even if it is not in a location you were originally considering.   It is a fine line though between being ‘open-minded’ and potentially just wasting your time and the school’s time.  Because of the electric feeling in the air, sometimes you get caught up in all of the excitement at the fair that it is just fun to go to all interviews that are presented to you. You never know what will happen and smart networking is always a good thing!

So, on average, how many interviews do you go to at a recruitment fair?  Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

From the staff at International School Community.

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Recruitment Resources for International Teachers: The long list of things to think about! (Part 1 of 3)

There are so many things to think about and search for information about when recruiting.  Why not have all the links you need to reference all in one location?

Recruitment Resources for International Teachers: (Part 1)

Cost of living comparisons between cities: http://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living

Association of American Schools in South America: http://www.aassa.com/ (Annual stateside recruitment fair; AASSA seeks qualified educators to fill positions in private schools located throughout South America. Schools vary in size and offer a predominately U.S. based curriculum)

Association of Christian Schools International: http://www.acsi.org

(Features a searchable database of 750+ current positions at 150 ACSI

member international Christian schools, frequently asked questions about missionary teaching and a free teacher listing service. Email: teachoverseas@acsi.org)

ECIS: http://www.ecis.org

Carney, Sandoe, & Associates: http://www.CarneySandoe.com

Overseas Digest http://overseasdigest.com/index.html

(ISS) International School Services: http://www.iss.edu

INTERNATIONAL OVERSEAS JOBS http://www.escapeartist.com/jobs16/international.htm (Good site on over-seas living)

International Supply Teachers http://teachersonthemove.com/ (the only organisation recruiting specialist teachers for short-term vacancies in international schools.)

Joy jobs: http://joyjobs.com/

(This site seems a bit heavy on the promotional side of things but fun to cruise)

Queens University, Canada:http://educ.queensu.ca/careers/torf.html

(200+ international teachers placed a year)

Search Associates: http://www.search-associates.com/

Teachers On Net: http://www.teachers.on.net/ (Internet Employment hub for Austrailian Independent schools also maintains an international jobs section)

TIE (The International Educator): http://www.tieonline.com

TIE is the newspaper that most leading international schools use to advertize their teaching vacancies; plus personal, school development news about the Int’l network. Most recent issues have over 130 ads placed by int’l schools representing over 2000 open positions. *Also* TIE’s new Vacancy Notification System, through which you can get automatic and instant notice of every vacancy posted in your area(s) of interest. And once you are notified via email and review the ad, you can have a notification of interest sent with ONE CLICK to the school in question, giving them quick and easy access to your resume.

UNI Overseas Placement Service for Educators: http://www.uni.edu/placement/overseas/ (annual UNI Overseas Recruiting Fair held each February/early March.)

For those returning to the states:

Carney, Sandoe, & Associates: http://www.CarneySandoe.com

The Education America Network – http://educationamerica.net – America’s largest online source for education employment opportunities. There are over 20,000 available employment opportunities from 880 employers from all 50 states. There is NO COST to search jobs, post your resume or receive customized employment e-mails.

Southern Teachers http://www.southernteachers.com/

This Agency works with both independent and public schools in the Southeastern United States. The Agency, directed by

7 Elliewood Ave., Suite 2A Charlottesville, VA 22903-2603

Tel 804.295.9122 Fax 804.295.6448

(Taken from the blog article from wwteach.)

Also check out all the comments and information about 1000s of different international schools around the world on International School Community!

The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #5 – “Check your ego at the door.”

“Nine Lessons Learned” taken from The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs article by Clay Burell’s blog Beyond School.

5. “Check your ego at the door.

I got about an even mix of offers and rejections from the schools I talked to. One school in particular seemed so right after two interviews that getting the rejection note broadsided me with the force of a turbo-powered school bus. I bumped into one of the interviewers later, and he told me that choosing my competitor over me was the hardest decision they made the night before, and that it took them over an hour of group deliberation to make it. A rejection can happen for all sorts of reasons – maybe they needed yearbook experience you didn’t offer, or needed that administrator whose spouse happened to be a less-qualified candidate for the position you want. So don’t take it personally.”

“Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent.” Sigmund Freud.

The greatest sports legends, the inventors of things we rely on today, great actors and actresses, all of these people must seem to have a big ego. Maybe it comes with their achievements or our projections of them? Then there are the great dictators, the generals of war or just some average Joe that just won the biggest-ever on his lottery ticket. Ego comes in many shapes and forms, and albeit some are seemingly more attractive than others. It’s a hard task to know when to enhance or down play your own ego.

We’re constantly told to either just stand in line or be like others, that we don’t really deviate from the mass, that we’re just one in a million, that perhaps we’re not as special as we think. Then we’re told we need to stand out, make a difference, show our true colors, let the ego steer and victory will come our way.  So, what are you to do at the international school recruiting fairs?

Ego is an ambivalent thing, you could say that it’s both our chance and our fall. It’s the chance to express ourselves, to enhance our personality to make it clearer how we stand out from the masses, what makes us special, what we’re capable of; how we’re the best of all of them. But there is a line, and if that line is crossed, our personality becomes too big and a bit desperate, we express ourselves in a way so superior to others that we make them feel small, we become way too special, maybe even too good for our own good; we are the best of all of them, no question there, there’s “me” and no one else.

It’s often in job interviews we’re left with the difficult task of being the best and out shining the competition, but in such a manner that we don’t let our own ego get the better of us, and suddenly instead of standing out positively in the round robin session or administrator’s hotel room during the interview, we stand out negatively instead. It’s practically a game of ego vs. humble. It’s pointing out the things you are good at and how you are the best for the position, but it’s just as much being humble, being likable, charming, sitting straight, smiling, having eye contact, being interested, letting your ego shine from time to time, but not letting it consume the space.

“There’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.” James Lee Burke.

And every so often your ego takes a blow. When you venture in life, there’s always the risk of rejection. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t any international school out there that wants to hire you. It’s basically the same whether you open your heart for someone you love, or you are at a job interview, getting that “no” is a sour sting to your ego. And that’s when the inventory begins: should I have? or could I have? Would it have? And so on and so on…

Every mountain we climb in this life should probably have two gates: “for exit hurry” or “in risk of rejection”. We can’t go through life (and international school recruitment fairs) without getting a little hurt sometimes, without bruising our ego. It’s all part of living as they say; the smart and clever ones. So maybe you didn’t have enough experience, maybe the connection just wasn’t there, or maybe, just maybe someone was just better than you. You know, you shouldn’t take it personal. It just means you get a few more rounds through the “in risk of rejection” gate. And who knows, just one week after the fair, when you weren’t offered any contracts to sign, you might receive in your email inbox the offer from the international school you have been dreaming of working at!  It is happened many times in our International School Community.

New Survey: What international school recruitment fair have you had the most success at?

A new survey has arrived!  Topic:  What international school recruitment fair have you had the most success at?

 

Do some international school recruitment fairs have too many international schools for the candidates that attend? (I have never seen an interview/round robin session look like this one…in the 3 different teacher recruitment fairs that I have been to.)

Do you find more success with your interviews the more lavish the hotel that is hosting the recruitment fair?

Do you do well in the round robin session set-up that each recruitment fair does just a bit different from each other?

Do you do well in certain hotel rooms in certain cities that certain recruitment fair hold their fairs at?

Of course we are joking a bit on all those questions, but International School Community is curious to see which recruitment fair international school teachers are finding the most success at.  We might be able to see some patterns emerge and help future fair goers when they are deciding which one to go to (or not to go to).  You can find a list of all the international school recruitment fairs for 2011-12 on the TIEonline website here.

So, what international school recruitment fair have you had the most success at??  Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

Educators Overseas: Helping teachers secure a job teaching abroad.

There are many ways to secure a teaching job at an international school.  The website Educators Overseas also offers such a service.  Here is what they have to say about their philosophy of helping candidates find the “right fit” in their search to teach abroad (taken from their website):

Honesty Throughout the Process

The word “recruiter” is sometimes associated with the idea of telling a job candidate what they want to hear, just so that they’ll take a job. At Educators Overseas we pride ourselves on being the exception to this rule.

  • Realistic Outlook – Some schools can only hire people under or over a certain age. Others only want single, unaccompanied teachers or those who have experience working overseas. We will review your qualifications and will be honest with you about your chances and opportunities to find a job.
  • Honesty – Apparently there are some teacher recruiting companies who delete any Facebook posts that put their company or the schools they work with in any negative light at all. Rather than deleting such posts we address the issues straight on.
  • Quality Schools – we support the teacher bill of rights and work only with quality schools. This unofficial document was created jointly by international school teachers to communicate a few things they expect from their new international school. While we can’t enforce the Bill of Rights, we can and do let schools know that we support the Bill and do not represent schools in egregious violation of the Bill’s spirit or points.

Assistance as You Move Abroad

Unlike other teacher recruiting agencies, our service to you does not stop once the contract is signed and is not limited by the job you accept.

  • Travel Guidance – Although you’ll find a lot of information on your own via the internet, visit our Destinations pages for more information on the city and country you’ll be going to. For some jobs you’ll be given a mini travel guide to start you off right.
  • Cultural Acclimation – To help you prepare to transition abroad (and also while you’re in country if need be), you we will give you exclusive access to an e-course especially designed for expats moving abroad.
  • Transitions Abroad – Moving anywhere is a big deal, but moving overseas, especially for the first time, is even more of a transition. To help you prepare for your big move abroad Educators Overseas stays in contact with you every step of the way, providing your information about shipping, vaccines, the local language, and answering any questions you may have about moving to, teaching in, or living in your new country.

Support After Arriving in Country

What happens after you arrive at a school? If you used another teacher recruiting company chances are you won’t hear from them again once you move abroad. At Educators Overseas, once a teacher accepts a job at an international school, we continue to provide ongoing support to teachers to ensure a smooth transition overseas and an outstanding experience in their host country.

  • Expat and Teacher Community Abroad – Once you move abroad you’ll be considered an “expat”, short for expatriate – someone who is a citizen of one country but temporarily residing in another country. The good news is that expats stick together and develop their own sense of community and family in another country. We will put you in touch with expat groups so you can start building your own community even before you go. Educators Overseas will also provide you with resources and information about living in your new country and in some cases a mini travel guide.
  • Embassy Contacts Abroad – The Embassy (in the capital city) and Consulates (in other cities) of your home country provides services and support to its citizens residing in the host country. Educators Overseas will connect you with your country’s Embassy so you can receive important alerts and information distributed by the Embassy.
  • Help Finding Partner a Job – If you move to a new country with your spouse or partner and he or she decides they want a job, just let us know. We will provide you with prospects, ideas, and local contacts to help them find work. We also partner with some exclusive telecommuting job companies and will send you job alerts for telecommuting opportunities at your request.
  • Assistance While Living Abroad – If ever you have a concern, problem, or question as a teacher overseas, email Educators Overseas and we will do our best to help you. With contacts all over the world, we’ll work to provide you with resources to help resolve any issue, whatever your question. In many cases one of our employees will have lived or at least traveled to the city or country you are in. For as long as you are living abroad, Educators Overseas will remain your partner and will be here for you with any advice, suggestions, answers, or friendship.

Seems like they are making the decision to change your whole life and move to a foreign city somewhere around the globe a bit easier than if you were doing it all by yourself.  The recruiting fairs like Search and UNI don’t seem to be offering these same services to their candidates looking for jobs at international schools.  How nice and convenient to have the organization that helped you secure a job abroad help you even after you get the job and are living in your new city! We wonder though what this looks like in practice.

Check out more about Educators Overseas and see if they are a good match for what services you are looking for in your job search.  It might be a good alternative to signing up to go to an international school teacher recruitment fair for some teachers new to the International School Community.  Does anybody have any personal experience working with Educator’s Overseas?  We would be interested in hearing your experience on our blog.

Check out our website as well for the latest comments and information (now over 1600!) from members representing over 80 international schools around the world!

The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #4 – “Being yourself is better, come what may, than trying to be someone else.”

“Nine Lessons Learned” taken from The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs article by Clay Burell’s blog Beyond School.

4. “Being yourself is better, come what may, than trying to be someone else.”

“Think about it. Not only does pretending to be what you’re not cheat your interviewer – it also cheats you. Show your true colors now, so you’ll know whether it’ll be okay to show them over the length of your contract. I love the fact that, at my second interview with the two interviewers for the school I chose, Singapore American School, I replied to a question by saying something to the effect of, “There’s no denying that people’s first impression of me is often, ‘Damn, Burell, you’re too intense!’ But after a while they see the rest of me, and realize I’m also mellow in my own way.” “Damn” is a soft enough word these days – and I certainly don’t toss out higher-level potty words like rhymes-with-fit or ends-many-limericks-about-Nantucket or leads-to-supposedly-eternal-damnation in professional company – and I wondered about the wisdom of the utterance after it escaped my mouth (and this was in like the middle of the second hour of the interview), but somehow the fact that the offer was still made left me feeling even happier than otherwise about accepting it when it came in hour three.”

Is it really that difficult to just be yourself, and just for a moment, maybe pretend that you are a better version of who you really? The thing about admitting your own true colors is that you might have to admit some of the things, that you yourself, might find questionable, or that society deems one thing or another.  Even worse is when you realize mid-interview that you are indeed not the “best fit” as you had hoped you would be for that international school you have been wanting to work at that in the city you really had been wanting to live in.

The famous psychiatrist Carl Jung operates with something called archetypes. Two of those archetypes are known as the Shadow and the Persona. The Persona is the way we want the world to see us at our very best, the peak of our personality, but always with a mask that protects the ego, and paints an uneven picture of the person we are. The Shadow is the exact opposite. This is, according to Jung, the essence of us. The Shadow contains all our traits, the good and the bad, the flattering and unflattering, but it is our true personality. With age comes sagacity, and we start to know more about who we are, and as years pass we learn to accept ourselves, flaws and all. We learn to deal with our shortcomings, and learn to see beyond what we aren’t and what we are. The human being is of a complex size, we contain so many different traits, and as we get older we learn, and become better to deal with what is giving and what we achieve, what we learn and the wisdom we obtain.

The thing about job interviews is that we only want people to see us at our very best, or to put in a more accurate sense: what we think they want! We somehow create an illusion, that’s inevitably going to burst, it might turn out for the better, but it could as easy turn out for the worse. Honesty is the best policy, especially in the international teaching world. We so desperately want to be everything a job applicant is looking for, when in the end, all that weighs the most, probably is our personality. Our own true personality and how that matches up with the administration and staff at a school.

“Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?” is a quote by comedienne Fanny Brice. When you create illusions or pose in a manner that is untrue to yourself, can you really expect to be liked or hired for the person you are. What sets us apart, and makes us different, is in the end what makes us unique, and when it comes to a job interview, it is the way we should be judged.

So is it really so difficult to just be yourself? If you let go of some kind of perfect perception of yourself, and just act natural, it really isn’t. Of course it takes years to accept yourself and to fully come into your own, but you will find that it somehow feels better in your own skin, when you are simply just yourself.  And maybe, just maybe you will make one of the hardest and scariest decisions you will make in your life (accepting a job at an international school in a location of the world you have never been to; and not knowing anybody there) a bit easier on your mind knowing that you have done your best to show your true self at the interview.

Highlighted article: Which international school job fairs do you recommend and the job fair circus!

In these two blog entries by Greg Clinton, he discusses the topic of the international school job fairs.  He is currently working in the international school community at American Embassy School, New Delhi.

Parts of the two entries we’d like to highlight:

Job Fairs: Which One Do You Recommend?

“The international school community is known for relatively high change-over rates in faculty, compared to schools that are rooted in a particular community “back home”.

The most traditional way to get a job overseas is The Job Fair.  ”Are you going to the job fairs?” is a question we will all hear and ask more often as the end of the calendar year approaches.  But job fairs are expensive to attend and some candidates have to travel thousands of miles, without the guarantee that it will net them a new job.  More and more interviews are being conducted over Skype and more connections are being made through online services such as TIE Online’s resume service and databases like the NAIS candidate pools.

Question for administrators:  Is it necessary to meet a candidate face-to-face, or can hiring be done effectively over Skype?  Also, which job fairs do you prefer, and why?”

As we write this blog entry, some of the staff at International School Community have friends that have already informed us that they have received and accepted offers to work at their next international school.  No job fairs were involved, just Skype and over the phone.  Also, in a few of the situations, the power of the people you know in the international school community has helped.  You work with a director at one international school in Europe and then that director moves to a school in South America.  Four years down the road, you find yourself being offered a job at the director’s new school.

It is important to remember not to burn any bridges as you never know what the future may hold in terms of which school you find yourself working at next in your life.  Many international school teachers are indeed getting hired more and more over Skype.  It just might be the way of the future of getting hired at international schools.  Sometimes though it is a bit of fun to go to an international school job fair anyways as you never know what you might find there and who you might interview with at those things.  I remember seeing somebody in the elevator at a Search fair and then nine months later seeing them at the same IB conference.  We remembered each other just in that brief moment in the elevator!

The job fair that most teachers prefer is the one that cost the least money probably.  They all seem to be doing relatively the same format anyways.  One key factor though is knowing which international schools go to which job fairs.  No good going to one fair when the schools you are most looking at are not going to that fair that year.



International Job Circus

“Hiring fairs are where most teachers looking for international teaching jobs line up new positions.  Some schools and administrators have been looking elsewhere for their hiring needs, including websites and online databases of candidate information.  The International Educator, a “newspaper”/resume bank, is one such stalwart company offering an alternative to job fairs.  There are some other upstart websites that charge schools an exorbitant fee to see candidate info, but they won’t last long.  Really, it’s all about being face to face.

There are three main institutions that provide the most complete job search settings: Search Associates, International Schools Services, and the University of Northern Iowa.  They have their strengths and weaknesses, but they offer a comparable experience.

I attended the Search Associates fair in Bangkok not long ago.  It took place in a swank hotel that I couldn’t afford, but I enjoyed wearing my new suit, drinking coffee in the lobby and pretending.  There are two things I love about the fair experience, and two things I think are not so great.

Things I love:

Everybody’s there.  It’s like a gigantic, international school orgy.  The schmooze is thick, and the glad-handing is non-stop, but come on!  It’s exciting, you get to meet new people (I personally know two couples who have met at job fairs and gotten married the next year – perhaps Search and ISS should start a teacher match-making service?  Something to consider!) and you get to play the hunter or the hunted.  Right now, if you’re a decent candidate without a criminal record and no facial tattoos, you are probably one of the hunted.  But there are lean years and fat years for teachers.  Anyway, there you are, in the ballroom, surrounded by potential bosses all trying to be as nice and smart as possible.  You might run into old friends, or you might impress a superintendent and make a contact for later.  It’s an extrovert’s dream.

Note passing.  Not only are we auditioning for roles as school teachers, but we get to re-live our school days by passing secret love letters in the little bins.  What joy when you receive a note saying “I’d LOVE to sit down and chat with you…  I’m in room 275.”  What heartache when your bin is empty!  It’s all so deliciously human.  Composing your own notes is equally fun and tense.  What tone do I use?  Do I want to come across as playful?  Professional?  Smart?  Serious?  Do I just let my feelings flow: I’m in love with your school and want to spend the rest of my life with it?  Your school completes me?  You had me at “2 bedroom apartment”?  Or do I hold back, play hard to get?

Things I don’t love:

Being in a stranger’s bedroom.  I don’t see a logistical way around this problem, but it’s one of the creepiest parts of the hiring process.  Have you ever walked into an interview only to be faced with a pile of dirty clothes or someone’s underwear sticking out of a suitcase, or just a rumpled, used bed?  It’s distracting, unsettling.  Who was in that bed last night?  I don’t really want to be thinking about it, thank you very much.  I suppose the lesson is: administrators beware: your hotel room is a direct reflection of you.  In other words, arrange your most important interviews over coffee at the restaurant or something.

The cost.  This is why more and more candidates are turning to the Interwebs.  Search Associates charges something like $600 just to register as a candidate. [Correction: $200 for fair registration, includes one hiring fair.  Thanks, Jim.]  You’ll have to fly yourself there and back, and the hotels are usually up-scale.  A teacher could easily spend a month’s salary or more to attend a fair, and have no guarantee of landing a new position.  Schools spend tons to jet their administrators around, and then they pay sizable finders fees to the agencies.  Again, I’m not sure I see an easy solution.”

It is a bit weird to be going into a stranger’s bedroom at a hotel.  A person can’t get that comfortable in a hotel room I guess.  One question: have international schools been using their bedrooms for interviews since the inception of the international school job fair?  Seems like there might be a better option.  What other industries hold job fairs at hotels?

Indeed there are many things to love and hate about the fairs.  Thanks to the Wandering Academic for your excellent insight into the international school job fairs!

Three Job Fairs, Three Jobs: An International Teacher Hiring Saga

Highlighted article from the Matador network: English teacher Amy Villagio shares about getting hired for international school jobs.

She talks about her experiences attending the UNI Overseas Recruiting Fair in Iowa.

Sections of the article that we would like to highlight:

“One of the hallmarks of the international teaching job fair experience is the sign-up period. This is somewhat akin to a cattle stampede. Tables are set up in a huge room arena-style, and candidates head to their top schools, turning in their invitation if they have one and signing up for a time slot, or turning on the sales pitch and angling to get into any remaining interview times. Beforehand you’ve done your country research, noted all available jobs in your subject area, and prioritized according to countries, schools, and assignments. Now it’s down to following your carefully mapped-out plan of which table to go to first.”

The sign-up period at international school recruitment fairs are tough. They are full of excitement and anticipation.  Waiting in lines with your potential competition is nerve-wracking.  The general idea is that the schools with the longer lines are the more desirable and better international schools to work at.  One time at a recruitment fair one of our staff went to the American International School Budapest was the school with the longest line.  Another time at the UNI fair one of our staff members noticed that Shanghai American School – Puxi was the winner of the longest line.  Somehow word gets around about these schools and all the candidates want the opportunity to work there.  These schools get to be really picky.  Just taking resumes at the cattle call and giving the message out: “We’ll call you if we would like to set up an interview.”  Sometimes it is very important to “carefully map-out” your plan of attack during this time of the recruitment fair.  If you are too slow to get to a school, their interview schedule will have already been filled with other candidate interview times.  Sometimes it is good to wait in line if that is the case.  Really though, most candidates goals should be to get as many interviews as possible as they tell you it is good interview practice going to interviews even if the school is not one that may or may not interest you.

“I interviewed with schools from Germany, Kuwait, Syria, and Thailand. Finally, I was down to my interview with the school in Cameroon. Here I got the hard sell – “I’m offering you the position, you’ve got about five minutes to decide, you’re my number one candidate, I’ve got other English teacher interviews after yours and I can’t guarantee this later on…I took it. Later I drove back to Colorado, racking up ridiculous cell phone charges calling friends and family and announcing in gleeful shock: “I’m going to Africa!”

The moment of “you have 5 minutes to decide” is an awesome feeling, even if being really stressful.  We have all been in moments when you future is on the brink of a big chance…all based on your one word answer “yes or no.”  Earlier in the article the woman in the article she stated that she was excited that she had received a request in her box to interview at one of her top schools that she wanted to go to in Eastern Europe.  Then throughout the crazy, up-and-down experience of the recruitment fair, she ended up take a job in Cameroon.  It is amazing how you can go from really wanting to go work at one international school to then accepting at job at a completely different one.  Unbelieveable!

“This time it was different – I was signed up with ISS, International School Services, and had purchased a bank-breaking ticket from Cameroon to Bangkok, plus reserved rooms at the Shangri-La. Administrators had access to my file beforehand, and started contacting me for interviews right away. With the advent of Skype and the often exorbitant expenses (did I mention I had already bought a ticket from Cameroon to Thailand?), fairs are quickly on their way to becoming obsolete.  An administrator from a little school in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, a city I’d never heard of before, and I started talking. Several skype interviews later, he offered me the position, and I took it.”

Thank goodness!  We are so happy to hear that Skype is making its way towards a new way to hire teachers at international schools.  Yes it is more ideal to meet in person with the people that are interviewing you.  Actually, it is more ideal if you can actually interview with the people from the school at their school!  However, Skype is the next best answer to this whole ordeal.  It is good for the environment and good for the pocket book for both parties involved.  Unfortunately, in this woman’s experience, she had already bought a plane ticket to go to the recruitment fair when she got the position after interviewing over Skype.  Oh well, you must always be prepared.  Sometimes there are sacrifices that you must be ready to deal with when you are on the hunt for your next job at an international school.

The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #2 – “Energy is eternal delight” – so its opposite is….?”

“Nine lessons learned” taken from The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs article by Clay Burell’s blog Beyond School.

1. “Energy is eternal delight” – so its opposite is….?

“(h/t to William Blake who, though dead, deserves eternal credit for the eternally delightful maxim.) If, like mine, your own heart seems to pump more espresso than blood, then it may be important to consider the energy coming from those interviewing you. I’m not saying interviewers need to be manic or anything; I’m just saying a lack of excitement, of a sort of buoyancy – of even a decorously restrained intensity – when discussing educational vision while courting for a temporary professional marriage may be, well, a screaming red flag. Granted, the interviewers are stuck in their hotel rooms interviewing candidate after candidate for many more straight hours than the candidates themselves, but still – we’re all teachers, current or past, so we should be pretty good at keeping our energy level up whenever a professional client enters the room, be it classroom or hotel room. The short version? Beware the droopy interviewer, and put a gold star by the inspired/inspiring one. You are, after all, bound to be sitting in many more meetings with them if you sign the contract to work with them. If they’re sleepy, chances are you’ll be a sleepy worker with them. But if they’re exciting – in a way that rings true (and we all have what Hemingway calls a “shock-proof sh!t-detector,” don’t we, to distinguish real from fake excitement, yes?) – then consider fishing your pocket for that ring, and dropping to your knees on the spot.”

It is true, there is nothing like going into somebody’s hotel room to do an interview.  Seems quite strange now that we are thinking about more.  The recruiters seemingly are stuck in their hotel room for the whole day almost, for sure they will lose some of their energy.  However, there are things administrators could do to help the situation.  They can bring some things to make the hotel room appear cozier (e.g. more school logos, lcd projector displaying slide show of their school’s pictures, etc.).  They can change the format of the interview to be less formal and more of a discussion between friends (e.g. offering a nice herbal tea, etc.).  They can also just take a walk around the hotel (inside and outside), talking with the candidate as they go.  I know that last one seems a little outside the box, but really, if international schools that recruit at these recruitment fairs (which are normally held in hotels) think outside the box a little…things just might improve for everyone involved.

We have all had interviews in one of those hotel rooms where the interviewers seem disorganized, unaware really of who is sitting in front of them at the moment.  Some interviewers due indeed look rather confused and out-of-sorts, in a state of mind that doesn’t allow for excitement about their school to come beaming through.  But as Clay Burell is saying, none of these things should matter if that person is truly excited about their school.  It should indeed be quite clear to the candidate whether the administrators enjoy working at their school.  If they don’t appear to be, then it just might be a “red flag” to stay away from that school.

But let’s not forget that there are different cultural norms among all the different kinds of international schools out there.  Some British international schools are a little more “strict” than other international schools.  Some tend to conduct themselves in a more serious straight-faced manner.  That manner might just come across as that person is bored, with a lackluster vision of the school they are working at.  However, the opposite might just be the case, as they are just putting on a formal show of decorum and professionalism that is more commonly found at a British international school setting.  That school, once you get there, might be a very fun place to work at.  The people there, though a bit formal at meetings and in other functions, might just be exciting and fun to be around in more informal settings.

Overall though, we suggest that you do observe how engaged your interviewer is at international school recruitment fairs.  It could be telling of your future if you get offered a contract and end up working at that school.

The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #1 – Bad interviews are good things

“Nine lessons learned” taken from The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs article by Clay Burell’s blog Beyond School.

1. Bad interviews are good things

“No matter the reputation of the school, the people sitting across from you in the hotel room asking you questions in that school’s name are a stronger indicator of how it would feel to work at that school. I talked to English department heads whose questions – and my answers – made it clear to both of us that we would, or would not, make a happy marriage. There was an unsurprising correlation between this marital element and the offering or non-offering of a position at each school. Schools touting themselves as “21st century schools” and banging their laptop program drums – and during interviews with which I expected flower petals to descend from on high – on an occasion or two turned out to instead voice sentiments belonging to, um, people who’d obviously never experienced the literacy magic that happens after a few months writing and conversing behind the wheel of a blog. No rose-petals there – instead, many mental leaves of wet cabbage fell, probably, in both our imaginations. Marriage for the next two years? We think not. Thank goodness for the bad interview, and for the “We’re sorry we cannot offer you a job at this time.” No apology necessary, really – good luck.”

How wonderful.  This idea behind feeling good about bad interviews is perfect.  Sometimes we get caught up in all the hoopla at recruitment fairs.  We see teacher after teacher getting job offers and then there’s you, not getting ANY offers.  We have all been there I’m sure.  The worst is when you are in the elevators with the people talking so excitingly about their latest job offers and new contracts they are going to sign the next morning.  Like we have said before, it is all about luck and timing.  And now, there is a new addition to our quote about job hunting…if you are the right match for each other, it will be glaringly apparent.  If you are the right fit for each other, then you are the right fit.  It is truly like finding a partner or a spouse in life – you need to be at the right time and at the right place in each others’ lives for things to work out, and you must have some chemistry between each other.

We have all left interviews thinking “Oh, I really would like to have the opportunity to work at this school” knowing deep down that the person didn’t think you were the best fit and knowing even deeper down that you also didn’t think you were the best fit.  Sometimes you just want to get affirmation that you are a “good catch” at the international school recruitment fairs (UNI Overseas Placement Fair, Search Associates, International School Services, CIS, etc.) and you want to get job offers from everyone.  Some teachers are told to accept and go to all offers to interview.  If you do just that, you many times find yourself in hotel rooms with some administrator who is not speaking the same language as you.  They are talking and going through their speech about their school, but you are just thinking this is not the person I want to be working with, it is not the school I want to be working at and this is not the country that I want to be living in.  At the end of one of our bad interview experiences, the school asked “so what do you think?” and the person responded “I’m sorry, I just don’t think we are a good fit to work together.”  They sat there with shocked looks on their faces!  Sometimes you just need to be blunt, to get your point across because some schools may not even realize they have also just experienced a bad interview.

Traits and signs that a bad interview is taking place at an international school recruitment fair:

  • The administrator is saying to their counterpart “So, who was this person again?”
  • They are only talking about the good benefits package and how great it is to live and work there.
  • The director is sitting in a corner of the hotel room going through a mess of paperwork on the bed while the principal is interviewing you.
  • The people interviewing you are literally arguing how you are not a good fit. (e.g. “We usually only hire people from the UK.” “We are looking to hire someone locally for the position.”)
  • The administrators are not even asking you questions about teaching only about if they can find a way to hire you that would be in agreement with the laws of the host country (or ways to get around it).
  • The interviewers are coming across as far superior than you and can’t stop talking about their school as if it was a top-tier international school, when indeed they are truly not!
  • The person interviewing you doesn’t even physically work at the school you would be working at and they are only talking about how great the company is that owns the school.